Once again cannabis in the form of hemp makes itself useful to mankind.
“By taking advantage of the complex multi-layered structure of a hemp bast fiber precursor, such exquisite carbons were able to be achieved by simple hydrothermal carbonization combined with activation. This novel precursor-synthesis route presents a great potential for facile large-scale production of high-performance carbons for a variety of diverse applications including energy storage.” [see above graft chart]
Those words are from a scientist from New York’s Clarkson University who says he’s found a way to manufacture hemp waste into a material “better than graphene.” Moreover, the scientist — known to his peers as Dr. David Mitlin — says creating this graphene-like hemp material costs but a minuscule fraction of what it takes to produce graphene.
Comprised of a lone hexagonal honeycomb lattice layer of tightly packed carbon atoms, graphene is one of the strongest, lightest, and most conductive compounds ever discovered. Bottom line, it’s an extraordinary composite, but it’s costly.
Presented at an American Chemical Society Meeting in San Francisco, Dr. Mitlin described how he and his team were able to recycle leftover hemp bast fiber into powerful energy-storing super-capacitors. To do this, Mitlin says he first cooked the leftover fibers to achieve hydrothermal synthesis.
After the hemp’s lignin and semi-cellulose dissolve, what’s left are carbon nanosheets incredibly similar to the structure of graphene. He then built the resulting sheets into electrodes and added an ionic liquid for its electrolyte to create a batch of super-capacitors boasting a high energy density.
“Obviously, hemp can’t do all the things graphene can,” Mitlin acknowledged. “But for energy storage, it works just as well. And it costs a fraction of the price [at] $500 to $1,000 a tonne.”
Countries like Canada, China, and the United Kingdom rely heavily on industrially grown hemp for use in clothing, jewelry, building materials, among other applications. What’s left over after these goods are created is the aforementioned bast fiber, which typically finds its way to landfills. Additionally, Mitlin points out that the hemp used to create the graphene-like super-capacitor is entirely legal to grow and contains absolutely zero traces of THC.
“Fifty miles down the road from my house in Alberta there was an agricultural hemp processing facility and all that bast fiber, it just sits in a high bay, and they don’t know what to do with it,” Mitlin tells BBC News. “It’s a waste product looking for a value-added application. People are almost paying you to take it away.”
With everything from electric cars to power tools having the ability to make use of super-capacitors, it seems quite possible that Mitlin’s discovery could oust graphene from its reign as the gold standard of energy-storing materials.
CCHI activists know that there is enough money to be made off hemp products to benefit a state government budget without taxing medical marijuana patients. A sick person has a right to be well. An unhappy person is at liberty to seek happiness.
(Story source – Rick Stella)